Wednesday, September 28, 2016

on heartache, grace and glory

The last of summer’s bounty.  

Summer, the season usually regarded as my favorite, was harsh to us this year.  We experienced loss on a few fronts - some relatively trivial, others more weighty.  I know that things could be much, much worse, but still my heart has ached over recent times.  There is so much to hurt for and so much to be thankful for and it’s sort of a strange and place to find oneself.  In my head I usually hold on to what I know to be true, but my heart doesn’t always want to follow suit.  And I think that’s ok.  It’s ok to feel all the feels.  It’s ok to acknowledge deep sorrow and pain.  

These past couple months, I’ve shed an awful lot of tears.  I’ve cried in the van while driving the girlies from place to place, I’ve wiped tears away while walking with the girls in the mornings, I’ve even had to pull out the tissues at the beach —my happy place!  And as awkward and uncomfortable as it has been (sorry to all you folks who stopped beside me at a red light, trying not to make eye contact with the crazy crying lady stopped next to you!), I believe the Lord has been working in my heart, despite the moments and days when I’ve dug my heels into the ground, quite literally pitching a fit like a toddler in my prayers.  (thank you, Jesus for your grace and patience with me!)  

I don’t understand the why and that’s really difficult for me, but as desperately as I want to, I know that I don’t have to know the why.  Just the what:  He is God, He is good and He’s asked me very clearly to trust Him.  

There have been so many moments when I’ve thought “I just can’t.” or “I’m so done."  And to be honest, I’ve been stuck in a bit of rut of these kinds of thoughts lately.  And there’s room for that.  His grace is sufficient, His power is made perfect in our weakness.  But it doesn’t stop there.

Last night we went to Bible study after a particularly rough day.  
It was the last thing I wanted to do, but I am so glad I went because something was shared that snapped me right out of my rut.  One of our group members talked about how we often view ourselves in relation to God as cups —when life is going well, our cups fill with blessing and overflow, but when things aren’t so dandy we feel like our cup has been drained.  In reality, we ought to view ourselves as mirrors that reflect the glory of God.  So when things are going well, we praise Him and recognize His goodness to us in that, and when things aren’t going well we can hold on to the fact that all things work together for our good to His glory (Romans 8:28), and rejoice in that too. 

Even in great tragedy and loss, this shift allows us to have not only a right understanding of His goodness regardless of our circumstance, but also allows us to ground our joy in Him, not in our circumstances.  Or as my devotional reading put it this morning (clearly, the Lord wants to make sure this point is driven home for me):  “The most precious truth in the Bible is that God’s greatest interest is to glorify the wealth of his grace by making sinners happy in him - in him!  When we humble ourselves like little children and put on no airs of self-sufficiency, but run happily into the joy of our Father’s embrace, the glory of his grace is magnified and the longing of our soul is satisfied.  Our interest and his glory are one.” 

Amen.  Thank you, Jesus.
Blogging tips